The Cost of Living Diaries: Reno, Nevada
A local shares what it’s like to live and work in the Biggest Little City in the World.
Combine Reno, Nevada’s high-desert landscape and thriving arts scene, and you’ll find that this community offers aesthetic views no matter where you turn.
Known as the “Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno’s quality-of-life amenities abound, offering a fantastic dining and drinking scene, a variety of great job opportunities and a slew of outdoor activities that change with the season — think hiking during warmer months and skiing once the weather turns cold.
To find out more about what it’s like to live in Reno, we sat down with Nicole Dolan, who grew up in Denver and moved to San Diego for two years after college with her now-husband. The two relocated to Reno in 2014 and now have two young daughters.
Why did you decide to move to Reno?
My husband was born and raised in Reno and always dreamed of coaching football at the University of Nevada, Reno. He landed a graduate assistant position and that is ultimately what made us leave San Diego.
How would you describe Reno and its residents?
Reno is known as the “Biggest Little City in the World,” and it truly is. Reno provides so many forms of entertainment, whether you are into the “casino” life or not. There are many local restaurants, breweries and coffee shops, and hiking/walking trails, parks and gyms are not hard to find, either. The people here are so welcoming, and you really get the small-town feeling. It is a great place to raise a family.
What do you love about living in this city?
I love living in Reno because you get the four seasons. You can be at the ski slopes in 30-45 minutes, depending on which mountain you’re headed to. Lake Tahoe is the most beautiful place ever, and it is only a 45-minute drive from Reno. I love the size of Reno and the historic neighborhoods and buildings. The Truckee River runs right through downtown, and you can run, walk or bike along the river or stop at one of the bars or restaurants for a cocktail and a bite to eat. When people think of Reno, they think it is just casinos, but it is so far from that. There is so much to do here!
Did you purchase a home when you moved to Reno? How did the cost here compare to San Diego?
We purchased our first home in northwest Reno in 2016 for $284,000, our second home in 2019 for $415,000, and our third home in 2021 in a more desirable area of town for around $800,000. We never owned a home in San Diego, but I know that the cost of living there is quite a bit higher than Reno.
What’s your favorite restaurant, and how much would dinner and drinks cost for two people?
It’s hard to pick a favorite restaurant because we have so many good ones! Arario Midtown is one of our recent favorites. It is Korean-fusion and so good! Dinner (no apps or dessert) and drinks for two there would be about $50 to $60. Whispering Vine on Fourth Street is also a favorite place of mine to go with my girlfriends and have dinner and wine. A fun night there would cost around $75 to $100, depending on the wine price point you go with.
What’s your favorite coffee shop in Reno, and how much is your go-to drink?
Reno has a bunch of great coffee shops! My go-to drink is a vanilla almond milk latte, and I usually grab it from Coffeebar, The Roost or Walden’s (Coffeehouse). It costs me $6 without a tip.
What are some free or low-cost activities you can do in Reno?
Ride bikes around midtown/downtown/the Truckee River. We have the electric scooter rental here like most bigger cities. You pay by the minute, but they are really fun to cruise around on!
This article was sponsored by EDAWN.